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A randomised, split-face comparison of facial hair removal with the alexandrite laser and intense pulsed light system.

by McGill DJ, Hutchison C, McKenzie E, McSherry E, Mackay IR.



Despite the high incidence of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) in women attending for facial hair removal there are few studies looking specifically at this patient group. We carried out a split-face study directly comparing the efficacy of a 3 milliseconds pulse duration alexandrite laser with the Lumina IPL system in 38 women with PCOS.


Each patient underwent six treatments using both systems, with 1, 3 and 6 months follow-up. Hair counts, hair-free intervals and patient satisfaction were recorded for all patients.


After six treatments, alexandrite laser treatment resulted in longer median hair-free intervals when compared to IPL (7 weeks vs. 2 weeks; P < 0.001). Decrease in hair counts was significantly larger on the Alexandrite side compared to the IPL side at 1, 3 and 6 months (52%, 43% and 46% vs. 21%, 21% and 27%; P < 0.001). Patient satisfaction scores, using linear analogue scales (LAS), at 1, 3 and 6 months were significantly higher for the alexandrite laser than the IPL (8.7, 7.8 and 7.7 vs. 5.7, 5.1 and 5.1; P < or = 0.002).


The alexandrite laser resulted in significantly longer hair-free intervals, a larger reduction in hair counts and greater patient satisfaction than the IPL and appeared to be more effective in this patient group. It is clear from the results in this study that the alexandrite laser is more effective at reducing facial hirsutism in women with PCOS than the IPL. It is probable that this is due to the specific wavelength, short pulse duration and single pulse delivery of the alexandrite laser, resulting in more follicular destruction than the IPL.

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